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Tokina 19-35mm f/3.5-4.5 Interchangeable Lens Review

|  Tokina 19-35mm f/3.5-4.5 in Interchangeable Lenses
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This 19-35mm f/3.5-4.5 is a new addition to the Tokina lens range. It's an auto focus lens with a minimum focusing distance of 0.4 meters. The lens construction sees the use of low dispersion (HDL) glass and multicoated elements, which are made by Hoya - the world's largest manufacturer of optical glass. While still retaining the same mechanical design as older Tokina lenses, this new 19-35mm uses durable polycarbonate barrel to reduce the overall weight. At 390g, it is a fairly light and easy to use piece of equipment.

 Tokina 19-35mm
The lens has a compact design

Tokina lens markings
It displays focusing aperture and zoom markings, but no depth of field scale or infrared index

We tested the lens on a Nikon body and in this version, along with the Pentax and Minolta, you select manual focus via the camera body to disengages the camera's motor and allows the focusing ring to manually rotated. Like all AF lenses the ring is loose to adjust which prevents strain on the body when it's used in AF mode. As a result you don't get the same smoothness as using a manual focus lens.

An internal focus mechanism gives the lens a fast autofocus, although it's a little slower than some of the others on the market, and the absence of any USM system makes it quite noisy. With a non-rotating 77mm filter thread, special effect filters, such as circular polarisers, can be used without having to change the filter orientation every time the focus is changed.

Front of Tokina 19-35mm
The filter thread is 77mm and a lens hood bayonets onto the outer ring

Generally, the lens handles extremely well and with only one stop loss between minimum and maximum focal lengths, it fairs well against other similar priced lenses. In terms of image quality it produces clear, sharp quality images but quality falls off at the edges, which was evident when photographing close ups.

Tokina 19-35mm petal hood
A petal style lens hood is supplied as standard and is invaluable when using such a lens.

Sample images

Snow scene
A great lens for wide angle landscapes, would also be ideal for group photography, buildings and interiors.

Tokina 19-35mm exposure
Details is recorded well into in the highlight and shadow areas and in this sort of photo the softness at the edges was not noticeable.

Sharpness of Tokina 19-35mm
Here's where the softness shows. A panel that was parallel to the film plane shows that the centre is sharp and there's a fall off in quality towards the edges.

All in all, for the 200 price, this lens is difficult to beat. If you can live with the slight softness at the edges when working close to a subject, something that might not be so common, given the focal length, the Tokina is a good buy. Generally the quality is comparable to camera's own brand manufactures budget lenses and, as it is available in all of the major brand fits, this lens has the hallmarks of being one of the market leaders in the super wide-angle zoom field.

Test by Heather Powell

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